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A smile that’s missing teeth shines a little less brightly. If you’re bothered by one or more missing teeth, Tam Dental Group can help restore your smile (and in most cases, your confidence) using the latest techniques. Dental implants are considered the gold-standard solution for this concern, and we can help you determine if this or another technique can give you the function and the esthetics you’re after.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a type of dental restoration used to replace missing teeth with natural-looking and long-lasting results. These implants are made of a titanium post, which is placed into the jawbone when you are sedated; an abutment that sits on top of the post; and a dental crown that provides a finished look. Durable and appealing, dental implants are the most often recommended solution for one or more missing teeth. Implants can even be utilized to replace an entire row of teeth with All-on-4 and All-on-6 implant dentures — two cutting-edge techniques designed to anchor a custom-made denture to the jawbone with only a few strategically-placed dental implants.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Dental ImplantsDental implants are often used in lieu of traditional removable dentures, as they can provide a number of advantages. Some of the benefits dental implants offer include:

  • Jawbone density preservation
  • Natural-looking results
  • Stable, secure fit that allows you to eat and speak comfortably
  • No rubbing or irritation on the gumline or soft tissues
  • Long-lasting, potentially permanent results
  • Easy maintenance (brush and floss normally and attend regular dental checkups)

Are Dental Implants Right For Me?

Dental implants can be an excellent tooth replacement for some patients and, perhaps, not the best solution for others. A major factor in determining whether dental implants are right for you is the state of your bone volume. Dental implants require a stable foundation of support, so those interested in treatment should have enough bone volume to accommodate the restorations. Since natural tooth roots work to stimulate and strengthen the jawbone, the absence of a tooth can lead to a gradual decline in bone density. The longer a tooth is missing, the more bone recession is typically experienced. Fortunately, our practice offers treatment with All-on-4 and All-on-6, which can make it possible for individuals who have limited bone support in the treated area to still receive implant-supported dentures.
In general, good candidates for the procedure should be:

  • In relatively good health to withstand the healing period
  • Willing to quit smoking and tobacco use
  • Seeking a long-term tooth replacement

It’s also imperative that patients have no signs of gum disease before receiving dental implants. If you have plaque or significant bacteria buildup and wish to replace a missing tooth, our team will perform periodontal disease treatment prior to the implant procedure to restore optimal health in your gums.

Dental Implants vs. Dental Crowns

Dental implants and dental crowns are both restorative treatments that can help you achieve a healthier smile, but their similarities generally end there. A crown is placed to reinforce and protect a tooth that is damaged or affected by decay, often saving it from weakening to the point of extraction. Implants, on the other hand, consist of a tooth root-shaped titanium post designed to be surgically secured in the gumline. Unlike crowns—which essentially function as strengthening “caps”—implants are exclusively utilized to replace teeth that are already missing or extracted. Crowns are frequently used to top dental implants, but the two restorations serve different purposes. 

What Are My Dental Implant Options?

Dental implants come in many types, and the right technique for you will depend on how much natural jawbone density you have, your personal preferences, your budget, and other factors. Dr Clarence Tam and our team can help you figure out which method is your optimal choice.


Each missing tooth can be replaced with a dental implant in a one-to-one exchange. Whether you have one, several, or all teeth missing, this approach could be suitable for you.


Also known as implant-anchored dentures, implant dentures, and implant-secured dentures, implant-supported dentures are designed to provide full or partial replacement of an arch (upper or lower, or both). This method uses a few dental implants secured to a denture appliance for improved fit and function.


A type of implant denture, All-on-4 uses four dental implants and a denture appliance to replace all the missing teeth on the upper or lower arch. In some cases, six implants may be needed to achieve the best result, in which case it is called All-on-6.

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Patient Results


Your initial consultation and evaluation are the first steps, and at this meeting we will take lots of images of your oral structures to determine if you have enough jawbone material for the procedure and which technique is best for you. We will also identify the ideal locations to place your implant posts for stability and durability. While the placement of the implants can sound a little bit scary, you don’t have to worry. We offer sedation dentistry options to put you at ease, and you should not feel any discomfort during the implantation process. Once the posts are in place, temporary dental crowns will be attached to the abutments, so you’re never without your smile. The healing process can take some time and there will be a few restrictions until you get your final dental crowns, usually in six to nine months. After that, you should be free to eat as you please, and no one will be the wiser about the origin of your beautiful teeth.

Guided Implant Surgery

Tooth ImplantTam Dental Group can perform digitally guided implant surgery for patients who are considered to be good candidates for the procedure. A guided approach to surgery is a unique advancement in implant dentistry that can provide more accuracy, efficiency, and precision in the planning and placement of your dental implants. Our lead cosmetic dentist, Dr Clarence Tam, can complete select cases of implant surgery using a guided approach right here, in-house at our Auckland office.

Guided implant surgery, or “guided implantology,” can pre-determine the most optimal positioning for dental implants using sophisticated 3D planning software and CBCT technology. The procedure starts with obtaining 3D scans of your mouth and bone structure, which will reveal extremely detailed views of your jawbone, nerves, sinus cavities, and nasal passages, among other anatomic features. With this information, we’re able to understand the best possible implant placement for your needs and visualise every step of your procedure. In turn, we’re often able to achieve superior results and greater predictability from the procedure, not to mention a lower risk of complications.

What Can I Expect During Recovery After Implant Surgery?

Each patient’s treatment plan consists of details unique to them; therefore, the dental implant or All-on-4 procedure may take place in one or multiple stages depending on your needs. With the sedation dentistry options available at our Auckland practice, most patients do not experience discomfort during implant surgery. After the procedure and during the healing process, the following reactions are common and expected:

  • Swelling on the sides of the face
  • Bruising in the soft tissue and gums
  • Tenderness, soreness, or discomfort at the implant site(s)
  • Mild bleeding

In general, you may need to stick to a liquid or soft-food diet for the first few days after dental implant surgery. Dr Tam and our team will provide you with comprehensive aftercare instructions so you can get an idea of the recovery timeline associated with the procedure. They will also go over what you can expect during the healing process, such as post-operative instructions on cleaning your teeth, food and activity restrictions, etc.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Implants can last for several years with good care and typically have the longest lifespan when compared to other restorations. Each individual will likely experience different results based on their oral health, bone density, and lifestyle, but implants often last at least 5 to 10 years on average. For some patients, they can even function as a lifetime tooth replacement. To get the most out of your dental implants, we simply recommend maintaining good oral hygiene habits: brushing and flossing twice daily as well as semi-annual visits to the dentist are all it takes to keep dental implants in good condition. If you tend to grind or clench your teeth during sleep, we suggest wearing a customized night guard to help prevent unnecessary damage to your implants. 


The price of dental implants will depend on the complexity of your treatment plan, the number of dental implants you need, whether you are using a denture appliance, and other factors. Generally speaking, each implant can cost between $6,000 to $7,000, including both surgical placement and restorative phases. During your initial consultation, we will go over the full anticipated cost of your program, so you are well-informed before beginning.

Are There Any Dental Implant Alternatives?

Maybe you don’t have enough bone volume to support a dental implant, or you’re looking for an effective tooth replacement that doesn’t require oral surgery. Dr Tam and our dental team can also restore the form and function of a missing tooth with less invasive treatment options, such as dentures, partial dentures, or a dental bridge. While they are removable, complete and partial dentures are custom-made prostheses that can recover the appearance of a full, healthy smile. If you are seeking more stability and/or a better fit, dentures can even be anchored to the jawbone with dental implants to completely replace an entire row of missing teeth. This implant denture technique usually necessitates less bone density than individual dental implants would require to restore a full dental arch. 

Another option to restore one or several missing teeth is a dental bridge, which is a set of artificial teeth crafted to “bridge” the gap between adjacent healthy teeth. The dental bridge can be secured in place with dental crowns (which are placed on either side of the absent space) or implants. This allows you to regain the appearance and biting function of multiple consecutive missing teeth. If desired, our team can help you determine the most beneficial treatment for your unique goals during your consultation. 

Complements to Dental Implants

Dental implants are often used in complement with other restorative dentistry treatments, such as when placing bridges or dentures. Depending on the amount of bone volume available, these restorations can be affixed to the mouth using implants to look and feel more like your natural teeth. Utilizing dental implants also has the added benefit of stimulating the underlying jawbone, which can regenerate lost bone support caused by years of living with missing teeth. Implant dentures, All-on-4, All-on-6, and implant-supported bridges offer the ability to replace missing teeth with more security and comfort than unanchored restorations, which is why many patients opt to utilize implants to help restore their smile.

Choosing a Top Implant Dentist”>Choosing a Top Implant Dentist

Selecting an implant dentist who is not only qualified, but also capable of providing the best experience for your unique needs is paramount. We understand that the dental implant process may seem overwhelming, but choosing a compassionate and experienced dentist to conduct your treatment can make all the difference. During your research, we encourage you to:

  • Check a dentist’s credentials to gain an idea of their experience with dental implants. Dr Tam is one of two dentists in Australasia who are board-certified accredited members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).
  • Ask a potential dentist how many dental implant cases they perform per year to gain an understanding of how often they restore missing teeth with implants.
  • Learn about the technology at a dental practice. In many cases, modern technology like computer-guided surgery, digital impressions, digital imaging software, and sedation dentistry can help ensure your experience is as comfortable, convenient, and efficient as possible.
  • View before-and-after photos to determine whether the potential results align with your dental goals.
  • Read testimonials and choose a dentist who is able to provide gentle treatment and a high level of patient-focused care.

Lastly, book a consultation with your prospective dentist to determine whether you feel comfortable under their care. A good implant dentist should answer your questions patiently and thoughtfully without pressuring you into treatment.

Additional Dental Implant FAQs

Are dental implants safe?

Yes, dental implants are considered a safe treatment to replace missing or severely damaged teeth — as long as you’re under the care of an experienced implant team. Key to maximizing patient safety during the treatment process is ensuring a dental implant can serve as the best possible tooth replacement for each person’s needs and goals. Our skilled dental team will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums as well as your oral health and medical history to confirm your candidacy for implant surgery. We also utilize advanced dental technology and the latest guided surgical protocols to ensure more predictability during the procedure.

What do dental implants look like?

A dental implant looks like a thin, titanium post. It is designed to replicate a natural tooth root, which is why the post is inserted into the gums and left to fuse with the jawbone during a process called “osseointegration.” Once the implant becomes a part of your mouth, it should function just like a tooth root — keeping the rest of the artificial tooth anchored in position while stimulating and strengthening the underlying bone.

Do dental implants hurt?

Soreness, swelling, and tenderness after implant surgery is normal and to be expected; however, patients do not usually report excessive pain during or after the procedure. Local anesthesia is used during surgery and our practice also offers sedation dentistry options. That said, every person has a different tolerance for pain and our team will speak with you about your needs to help ensure your treatment proceeds as comfortably as possible.

How do you clean dental implants?

Luckily, there is no additional maintenance required to keep dental implants in good condition other than the daily brushing, flossing, and oral hygiene measures required to take care of your natural teeth. Implants can deteriorate in much of the same way as your normal teeth if there is excessive plaque/bacteria buildup, or a lack of general care. We encourage frequent brushing and flossing on top of keeping up with your semi-annual appointments to help prolong the longevity of your implants.

What can you eat with dental implants?

Dental implants give you the ability to eat all of your favorite foods, no matter how chewy, tough, or sticky they may be! Removable dentures and other tooth replacement options often limit the range of foods you can eat due to a lack of stability in your prosthesis; however, with dental implants, you can confidently enjoy an unrestricted diet once your mouth is fully healed from the procedure.

Bothered by missing teeth? Tired of traditional removable dentures? Let us help you find a solution that makes smiling enjoyable again. Call us today to schedule a consultation.